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Reconfiguration school building tours set



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January 23, 2013 - Brandon Twp.- New district boundaries are in place following the decision to reconfigure school buildings.

The reconfiguration will be implemented in the fall and the parents of students who previously would have attended Belle Ann Elementary are invited to meet with the principals of Oakwood Elementary, Harvey Swanson Elementary and Brandon Fletcher Intermediate School at 6 p.m., Jan. 29, at the I-TEC Center, 609 S. Ortonville Road. A tour of the buildings will follow.

"It's an opportunity to meet the building principal and see the building they've been assigned to for the next year," said Superintendent Lorrie McMahon.

The school board unanimously approved in December changes to buildings in the district including closing the former H.T. Burt Elementary, which currently is used as the alternative high school and also contains all preschool classes. The alternative high school will move to Belle Ann Elementary. Belle Ann will no longer have elementary students. Instead, all Kindergarten through third grade classes in the district will be held at Oakwood Elementary and Harvey Swanson Elementary. All preschool and latchkey programs will also be at those buildings. Brandon Fletcher Intermediate School will accommodate all fourth grade classes in addition to the current fifth and sixth grade classes held there. No changes to the middle school or high school are planned.

Steve Gaynor led the Michigan Association of School Boards team that was hired by the district at a cost of $14,000 last year to provide an unbiased, professional analysis of data, as well as lead focus groups to give recommendations on an appropriate course of action regarding use of buildings. The final recommendation was praised for meeting or potentially improving current academic standards in the district as well as for the expected financial savings of $200,000 annually the changes will give the district. The district is also anticipating long-term savings in capital improvements to both Burt ($643,494 over 5 years) and Belle Ann ($111,415).

Under the plan, 100 students formerly destined for Belle Ann will go to Harvey Swanson, while 80 will go to Oakwood. The total number of students at Oakwood and Harvey Swanson will remain nearly the same as the fourth grade classes—about 200 students— move to the intermediate school.

In-district transfer requests are due by Jan. 31. Parents can also request a different elementary in the spring.

Bids for necessary renovations to Brandon Fletcher Intermediate School, which will include building walls and new wiring for technology, will be put out in March. The construction will be done this summer.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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